Who knew Tennis could be so fun? Apparently Sega had an idea because they went all out with their two flagship tennis titles for the Sega Dreamcast, Virtua Tennis and Tennis 2K2. The second video game I ever owned after Super Mario Bros, was the black box original, Tennis. I enjoyed Tennis for the NES and was surprised at how much I still enjoy it 30 years later. But these two titles leave all other tennis games in the dust when it comes to playability and pure enjoyment out of a simple yet enduring sport. Both games offer various modes of play utilizing real tennis players of the time (early 2000’s). Both games offer the chance to take control of popular tennis players of the era. Both games allow you to travel around the world taking on opponents in 6 continents. In Virtua Tennis you can play exhibition style against the computer or a real life opponent(s) in either singles or doubles and you can play arcade style where you win and advance against the computer also allowing for singles or doubles play. The premier mode and reason for owning the game is the world circuit mode which allows you to select a tennis player (only male options) to follow through a career playing in tournaments across the globe, taking part in mini-games that allow you to power your player up and buy gear for him to use/wear and advance in the rankings. This game is a blast and was a recent pick-up but as fun as Virtua Tennis is, it pales in comparison to the options available in the follow up, Tennis 2K2.
Tennis 2K2 is the perfect tennis game front to back. The graphics are noticeably improved over VT, it now has both male and female tennis players, it allows you to create your own character(s) that you can use in all modes of play similar to Virtua Tennis and the mini games are fun, challenging and addictive as hell. I played this game to death back in 2003-2004, not long after I had bought my used Dreamcast and it was my go to game for the system. None of the other games I owned, with the exception of NFL 2K and NFL 2k1, allowed me to play for 15-30 min and feel like I accomplished something. I even created a character for my wife so the two of us could play as mixed doubles during the world tour mode. Luckily, my VMU that I used back then still contains all of my game saves so the characters I created and their progress are still saved and ready for me to pick up where I left off over 12 years ago. The other noteworthy comment I have about this game outside of the fact I LOVE it, is that the cover athletes were the Williams sisters and it’s crazy to me that a game that was released for the Dreamcast in 2001 features cover athletes that are still playing tennis at a high level 16 years later. The other cover athletes from notable franchises NFL2K and NBA2K series, Randy Moss and Allen Iverson, have been retired since 2012 and 2010 respectively. Let that sink in.
Currently in my collection:
Virtua Tennis – game, manual, case A-
Tennis 2K2 – game, manual, case A+